March 17, 2011

∴ The Switch: Followup

Geek With Laptop

It's been about a week since my CrackBook arrived. I love this thing.

I'd been thinking about replacing my Thinkpad with one of these since shortly after Kelly's MacBook Pro arrived two years ago. Let it never be said that I have a need for instant gratification. It took that long for my Thinkpad to grow a little long in the tooth, and for me to get comfortable with shedding some coin.

Given the heavy use I put them to, my machines are on a three-year replacement cycle. For desktops that means a new hard drive (or two) each cycle, and the occasional motherboard or video card. More on desktops later.

Laptops are a different beast. I've been fortunate to use employer-purchased machines for quite a while. When it came time to buy one on my dime I went for a Lenovo Thinkpad. It remains the only laptop I've ever used that didn't require warrantee service while I had it. My Thinkpad has been moved to household iTunes duty in my office now that the CrackBook is here.

(If you're in the market for a laptop, and you've just gotta have a Windows machine (trust me on this, you really don't), get a Thinkpad. Not an Ideapad, which is Lenovo's home-grown variant. A Thinkpad. Trusted tool of road warriors everywhere. Look around the next time you're at an airport. Check out what the business types are carrying, because they beat the snot out of their machines. Thinkpads.)

This time, though, I followed Kenning's advice and practice and dove into a Mac. Kelly's experience with the Mac OS was enough to convince me there was gold here.

The trouble for Apple, and I'm an example of this, is that the prospective customer is always left asking 'why should I spend this much money, when I can have a Windows machine for less?' I must have run down the features list and priced out a MacBook Pro at least a half-dozen times, always ending with that question. It's hard to put into words why you want this machine, this operating system. Why should it matter? Maybe you're just enjoying Facebooking, checking mail, buying the odd Amazon toy. Why spend the extra dough?

Spend it because the joy is in the journey. Spend it because these devices are the end result not of commodity-priced thinking, but of careful consideration of how they fit into your life. Spend it because, when you finally get a terrific machine that does what you want, and looks and feels great doing it, with no extra crapware and a reliability that won't let you down, you'd pay the same price for a Mac. And you will happier with the Mac. I'm crapping you negative.

I just looked back at what I spent on that Thinkpad, which until then had been the machine I always wanted. Then I looked at what I've spent on this Macbook Pro. Nearly the same.

You can buy a netbook (but you shouldn't). You can buy a nicely equipped Toshiba or Dell laptop and suffer the wobbly hinges and inferior display. You can own a Thinkpad, the king of Windows laptops. Or you can be really happy with a MacBook.

My perpetually upgraded desktop machine? Last of its kind in our house. There might be a Mac Mini in its place at the end of its life.

iPhones are gateway drugs. Then come iPads. And CrackBooks. Then you're done-for.